SpokenWord starts on Monday 2nd September. AWOL writers’ workshop running every Sunday.

The AWOL writers’ workshop has moved to the Chat Noir. This info last updated August 31st 2019. 

SpokenWord Paris is one pole of a nomadic tribe of people who love poetry, writing and song. A home for creatives and lost anglophones. We do an open mic night called SpokenWord every Monday at the Chat Noir and an allied writers’ workshop every Sunday. We do a literary journal called The Bastille and Tightrope Books published many of us in the book “Strangers in Paris.” Click on the blue stamp on the right to sign up to the mailing list.

Open mic/scène ouverte: Performance poetry. Lire vivant. Poésie sonore. Stand up. Monologue. Stories. Beat poetry. Spoken word. English. Français. Your own original texts. Old texts from Rimbaud to Dr Seuss, Beowulf to Gil Scott-Heron. Chacun a son mot à dire. Make the words come alive. Acoustic songs also welcome.

Poetry video clips on our instagram at spokenword_paris

SpokenWord Sounds
A taste of Monday nights at the Chat Noir, by Victor. Listen or download here.

Every Monday except August. Come to the Chat Noir, 76 rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud 75011. Métro Parmentier/Couronnes. Sign up at 8pm in the bar. Poetics start from 8.30pm underground. More info here. Paris’ biggest and longest-running English open mic night, started in 2006. All languages welcome. Free entry. Exit one euro.

Check next week’s theme here. Themes are a suggestion to inspire you but you don’t have to follow them. Indeed, many people don’t.

AWOL writers’ workshop
AWOL has moved to the Chat Noir for the summer. 76 rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud, 75011. Sunday evenings, usually 6.30pm – 8.30pm. Time sometimes varies so check AWOL’s facebook page. Free. Bring your writing or just come and listen and join in the discussion. Hosted by Bruce Sherfield, Simon Millward, Thibaut Narme and Camille Adnot. Friendly and insightful and afterwards you’re welcome to come for a drink. In a previous incarnation this ran for 10 years as The Other Writers Group and AWOL continues that group’s ethos of giving invaluable insightful feedback and providing a supportive space to hone your writing craft. Plus community among writers. Click here for a more detailed description.

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Will Cox to Guest at SpokenWord Paris November 18th–Monday’s Theme: Daily Routines

Will HeadshotWill Mountain Cox is an American-born writer living in Paris; he serves on the Artistic Committee of the Mona Bismarck – American Center for Art and Culture there. His first book, With Paris in Mind, was published in November by Relegation Books. His poetry has been published in places like The Bohemyth, For Every Year, and the aleï journal. In 2013, Will founded the Belleville Park Pages, which published more than 300 writers from 35 countries in three years and was described by Monocle as “the perfect, intelligent way to distribute new writing.” He holds degrees from Boston University and from Sciences Po in Paris, where he was named Graduate of Honor in 2017 for his research on the sociology of technology and urban life. Will is from Portland, Oregon.
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Lesley-Ann Brown to Guest at SpokenWord Paris November11th–Monday’s Theme: Liberation

labLesley-Ann Brown is an author and poet who has lived the last 20 years in Copenhagen, Denmark. Her blog Blackgirl on Mars was one of the first to write about Blackness, womanhood and expat living in Europe. Her recently published book “Decolonial Daughter: Letters from a Black Woman to her European Son” is a memoir in letters about the continued impact of European colonialism through the lens of Black motherhood in Europe and touches much on her Caribbean background and childhood in Brooklyn. She was a TEDX speaker last December.
Photo credit: Margarita Corporan
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Ed Bell to Guest at SpokenWord Paris November 4th–Monday’s Theme: Exile

fullsizeoutput_4915Ed Bell isn’t looking for paradise, despite the thorny road that has led him to the here and now. As host of a Paris-based literary association for the last three years, he has encountered hundreds of short, yet lived, experiences. A notable theme throughout has been that of separation, uprooting, expulsion: Odysseus tossed by a hundred Seas, and Penelope besieged by a hundred Suitors. This performance will use the media of elegiac poetry, blues piano, Norwegian dance and  plaintive voice to sing The Lamentable Tragedy of the Happy Exile.  

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Jeffrey Greene to Guest at SpokenWord Paris October 28th–Monday’s Theme: Clairvoyance

_MG_7855_2(2)Jeffrey Greene has published five collections of poetry.  He is the author of the memoir French Spirits and three personalized nature books.  A fourth nature book, Seven Music Forests, is in production. He is also the author of Shades of the Other Shore, a book of mixed genre writing: sketches, prose pieces, and poetry written in collaboration with painter Ralph Petty.  His writing has been supported by the NEA, the Connecticut Commission on the Arts, and Rinehart Fund, and he was a winner of the Samuel French Morse Prize, the Randall Jarrell Award, and the “Discovery”/ The Nation Award.  His poems, short stories, and essays have appeared numerous publications, including The New Yorker, Poetry, The Nation, Ploughshares, Agni, Southwest Review and the anthologies Strangers in Paris, Intimacy, and Nothing to Declare: A Guide to Flash Sequence. He is professor emeritus at the American University of Paris and mentors for the Pan-European MFA Program, with its residency in Barcelona this year. 

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Rethabile Masilo to Guest at SpokenWord Paris October 21st–Monday’s Theme: Rhythm

72398462_547344069143205_9205247618463039488_nRethabile Masilo is a Mosotho poet who has lived in France for more than 30 years.  He left his country,
Lesotho, as a refugee in 1981, eventually ending up in the USA where he continued his biology studies. He moved to France in 1987. Rethabile has published four books of poetry and two poetry anthologies. In 2014 his poem ‘Swimming’ from the book Waslap won the Dalro First Prize in poetry, as well as the Thomas Pringle Award for Poetry in Periodicals a year later.  The poem had first appeared in the magazine New Coin, Vol. 49, Number 1, in June 2013. In 2016 his second volume Waslap, published by The Onslaught Press, was awarded the Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry. That same year in October he was invited to participate in the 20th Poetry Africa Festival in Darban, and in June 2019 in the International Poetry Festival of Medellin. Masilo’s books are Things that are silent (Pindrop Press, 2012), Waslap (The Onslaught Press, 2015), Letter to country (Canopic Publishing, 2016), and Ooaling (The Onslaught Press, 2018). He blogs at Poéfrika (http://poefrika.blogspot.com) and co-edits Canopic Jar
(https://www.canopicpublishing.com/blog) with the writer Phil Rice. He is currently writing poems toward a fifth volume.

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Jennifer Blowdryer guests at SpokenWord Monday 7th Oct

Jennifer Blowdryer

JENNIFER BLOWDRYER got her dumb name from her SF punk band, the Blowdryers, in 1977. She’s written columns for Maximin rock’n’roll, New York press, and downtown, and her books include: white trash debutante, modern English : a slang dictionary, and Good Advice for young trendy people of all ages. She remains a band singer/writer, recent releases include Blowdryer Punk Soul: Pinot Grigio and 4 Essays – the most harmless person you are ever going to meet in your life, Bent Boy Press, SF, 2018. She lives in NYCs East Village.

SpokenWord theme (should you want to follow it): Forests

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Carrie Chappell to Guest at SpokenWord Paris September 30th–Monday’s Theme: Invocation

Carrie against tiles in the MaraisOriginally from Birmingham, Alabama, Carrie Chappell is the author of many poems, some of which have appeared in 45th Parallel, Anastamos, CALAMITY, Cimarron Review, cream city review, FORTH Magazine, Harpur Palate, Leveler, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, and those that this. Her lyric and book essays have been published in DIAGRAM, Fanzine, The Iowa Review, The Rumpus, The Rupture, and Xavier Review. Since completing her Master of Fine Arts from the University of New Orleans’ Creative Writing Workshop in 2013, she has shared her creative and scholarly writing both in print and in public readings and has actively sought to publish essays that continue the discussion of contemporary women-authored texts. Each April, she curates the Verse of April project, a digital anthology of homage to the poets. Currently, she lives in Paris, France, and serves as Poetry Editor for Sundog Lit.

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Jamika Ajalon to Guest at SpokenWord Paris September 16th–Monday’s Theme: Taking it Back

tbtnpromophotoB&Wjuly (1)Author / wordist and inter-disciplinary artist, Jamika Ajalon works with different mediums independently, but also in  multiple  fusions- incorporating written and spoken text, sound/music, and visuals.   Her poems, stories and essays have been published in various digital and hard copy publications internationally.  She is a columnist for Itchy Silk magazine  (“queer plume: the fugitive diaries”), co conspirator at lpressl.com,  guest lecturer , (including Vienna Arts Academy, and American University Paris),vocalist, writer/ musician, (Zenzile/Jamika & the Argonauts).  She has performed her audio visual anti lectures /sonic slam, and exhibited widely, (including Rennes Biennale of contemporary art,(2018),DISTURBANCE expo Kunsthalle Leipzig,(2017),Beton Salon, Paris (2017).  She has a BA Film/Video, MA Communications in Culture and Society, Goldsmiths University,London.  Her book poetry “Take Back the Narrative” is now available for public consumption.

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Thibaut Narme to Guest at SpokenWord Paris September 9th–Monday’s Theme: Food

piwbioThibaut Narme was born in Courcouronnes, France and grew up in the urban sprawl of Dammarie-les-Lys on the outskirts of Paris. After getting his Bachelor in Economics from the Sorbonne University, he moved to Sweden, then onto Denmark, where he obtained his Master’s Degree.  He returned to France in 2014 and taught Economics and Management at the undergrad level. He first started writing poetry in French in high school before switching to English during his stay in Copenhagen. Thibaut has been part of the Paris Anglophone scene since 2015, when he frequented SpokenWord and the Other Writers’ Workshop. He has been co-hosting its successor – the AWOL writing workshop – since 2017. He released his debut poetry e-collection in 2016 and is getting ready to release his second, titled Hamburger Redd Bull, this September.

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TRANS-EUROPE EXPRESSION: Win a trip to Manchester to compete for £500

90-second slam competition

Paris heat – 23rd September at SpokenWord

Practice – round 2 at SpokenWord on 9th and 16th September

INFO & RULES for the 23rd September heat


  • 3 rounds with up to 15 contestants – 12 is probably ideal
  • 90 seconds on the mic each round
  • The contestants with the 3 highest aggregate scores go through to the final


In the event that there are more than 3 contestants that qualify though their aggregate scores, the lowest of these qualifying scores will be subject to a tiebreak. This will be decided by a playoff, with the highest score in the playoff going through.

E.g. the highest scores are 100, 92, 88 and 88. 100 and 92 immediately qualify, who goes through from the two contestants with a score of 88 will be decided by a playoff.


Judging is by a panel of judges chosen from the audience. There must be a minimum of 4 judges, and a maximum of 7. The judges should not be friends or relatives of any of the contestants.


Scoring is out of 10 and should take into account both performance and content. An example as a rough guide:  a contestant performs exceptionally well, their piece is humorous but essentially trivial, they should expect a score of around 6 or 7.


  • Contestants must only perform their own, original work
  • No singing or use of props
  • No deliberately sexist, racist, disablist or homophobic language
  • Each contestant has 90 seconds on the mic for each round.
  • The clock starts from the moment the contestant speaks. (Contestants need to be reminded of this, to avoid introductions, etc.)
  • Per round, 1 point is deducted from each contestant’s score for every 3 seconds they go over time.
  • If a contestant completes a round within 1 second either side of the 90 seconds, they will be awarded 5 bonus points.
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